I've done some more card. The first was using some super sparkly vinyl:
I've also agreed to do a name banner for another friend. I had to do some tests on my machine as she didn't accept vinyl as a stabiliser last time I tried.
Firstly, I had to try winding a metal Brother bobbin on my Janome machine. It wasn't great, but I managed it in the end. Banners are seen from both sides, so I can't have white/black bobbin thread (which are the colours of thread on the prewounds I use). I need to actually load a bobbin with matching thread. Fortunately, I had purchased some proper Briethr metal bobbins, exactly for this sort of eventuality, a few weeks ago.
The real testing though was how to actually stabilise the letters. On my previous, single needle, machine it was easy. I just hooped some clear vinyl, and off we went. Vinyl works really well for banners - it's impossible to get cutaway or tearaway off the sides completely. Soluble stabiliser is a bit of a pain on letters.
I tried hooping vinyl the other day - I was trying to make a little gift card holder - and it was hopeless. The machine just chewed up the vinyl, spat it out, and complained about the vinyl bits in the bobbin case. I thought that maybe soluble stabiliser would work.
The test turned into several tests. The first was a letter using soluble stabiliser, using an EZ Frame. This was OK, but the top right corner was rubbish. The fabric also wrinkled when I used a damp cotton bud to dissolve the stabiliser round the edge, and then pressed the finished product. Not great.
The third attempt was the same as above, but I attempted to cut the shape beforehand. That was a disaster.
Until my new clamp frame arrives from the US, the best way is vinyl, properly hooped... but I need to try it in a larger hoop to give me more room (with the risk that it doesn't hold the vinyl tightly enough, and I end up with another dodgy top.
On the plus side, I took the time to use vinyl-in-a-hoop to stitch the letters of the name, without fabric. This means I can move them over fabric to find exactly the right bit of fabric for each letter.
I've agreed to do the banner anyway now, as I know I'll be able to do it - I just need to sort out the best method.